Boise, ID. – Today is Equal Pay Day, marking how long women would have to work into this year in order to make what men did in 2017.
Nationally, women are paid about 80 cents for every dollar a man is paid. In Idaho, the ratio is worse, with women working full-time, year-round jobs making 76 cents for every dollar men receive.
That places the Gem State at 42nd for pay equity. Sylvia Chariton, president of the Boise-area branch of the American Association of University Women, said efforts to close the gap have largely stalled in the past 20 years.
“It has only closed seven cents,” Chariton said. “The way things are going now, it will take 100 years. That will be five generations if we do nothing. So, the intent of AAUW is to put an ‘expiration date’ on pay inequity.”
That means AAUW wants to eliminate the gap by 2030, she added.
For women of color, the pay gap is even larger. Latina women make 54 cents and black women make 63 cents for every dollar white men earn. Montana, Utah and Washington state all rank in the bottom 10 for pay inequity as well.
However, Chariton is convinced the country can make progress closing this gap.
“There are three ways that we can begin to mitigate some of this,” she explained. “Women need to change the way they think about themselves; employers need to do something different; and the government needs to enact certain laws that have a bit more clout to them.”
Women need to identify and articulate their personal value, she said. For its part, AAUW intends to train 10 million women by 2022 on how to negotiate their salaries through its Work Smart program.
In addition to passing such legislation as the Paycheck Fairness Act, AAUW also takes the position that the federal government should reinstate wage data collection, which was halted last year by the Office of Management and Budget.
Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service